Dan Jervis, an Olympic swimmer representing Great Britain, has come out publicly as gay, saying he wants to be visible for other gay athletes.
Jervis decided to take the leap out of the closet in an interview by the BBC, in which he talked about the timing of his coming out.
“I’ve got years ahead of me in the sports and it’s a sport I love,” he said, “and I want to be me when i’m doing it.”
This summer he’ll be competing in his third Commonwealth Games, a quadrennial event for athletes in the Commonwealth of Nations, made up of some countries of the former British Empire, including Canada, Australia, India and dozens of others.
Previously Jarvis has won a bronze in 2014 and a silver in 2018, both in the 1500-meter freestyle. The timing of his public coming out, just ahead of these 2022 Commonwealth Games, is intentional on his part.
“Now is a good time for me because the Commonwealth Games is in a month’s time and there’s going to be a lot of people watching that and there’s so many countries in the Commonwealth where being gay is illegal. And for me to be [visible] on that stage and to inspire people is what I’m here to do.”
It’s interesting that he chose to come out just ahead of the Games, as athletes often shy away from such attention soon before a big event. His timing in that way shows how coming out is simply becoming more normalized and less of a major media event.
Jervis has been coming out to people in his personal and professional life for a while. As we’ve been told by athletes of all different levels over and over and over again, he’s found widespread acceptance.
“Every person I told I felt so much better after it,” he said. He also talks in the interview about being Christian, as well as other gay athletes who have inspired him.